Situated in the Guangdong Province in southern China, the Dinghushan Biosphere Reserve comprises low mountains and hilly lands of the Dayunwu Mountain Range. The range runs from northeast to southwest with Jilong Mountain constituting its highest point, rising 1000.3 metres above sea level. More than twenty hills of this range are located within the reserve. Dinghushan was China’s first Nature Reserve and has played a significant role in the conservation of ecosystems over the last forty years. The biosphere reserve is also known as a major Buddhist centre in South-East Asia.

Designation Date: 1979
Administrative Authorities:
the Dinghushan Arboretum, the Dinghushan Coordinate Agency of Guangdong Province, the South China Institute of Botany and the Academia Sinica.
Surface area (terrestrial): 1,133.40 ha
Core area(s): 625.10 ha
Buffer area(s): 350.30 ha
Transition area(s): 158 ha


Latitude: 23°10’S – 23°11’S
Longitude: 112°31’E – 112°34’E
Centre point: 23°6’36’’S – 112°19’48’’E

Ecological Characteristics

The very humid climate in the area has enabled the growth of (sub-)tropical humid forests, which host a rich diversity of species. In contrast to the disturbed surrounding forests, the Dinghushan Biosphere Reserve comprises rare primary forests that are at least 400 years old. The geological structure is composed of sandyshale, thick sandstone and quartz sandstone. Many flora species, such as Castanopsis chinensis (Castanopsis), grow on the primarily existing lateritic red earth. Camellia semiserrata (Christmas Camellia), which also grows in the reserve, is a species of commercial importance, and is used to produce a special oil and tea. Endangered animal species include Lophura nycthemeta (silver pheasant) and Manis pentadactyla aurita (Chinese pangolin). About 2,110 higher plants species, 120 bird species, 38 mammal species and 20 snake species have been recorded within Dinghushan.

Socio-Economic Characteristics

Aside from several hundred seasonal residents, there are no permanent inhabitants within Dinghushan (1997). The reserve’s main economic activities are agriculture and tourism, with shrines such as the Baiyun Temple and Qingyun Temple attracting up to 1 million visitors per year (1997 figures). Management of the growing tourist population has created both challenges and opportunities for the biosphere reserve. In order to promote its conservation function, the reserve has carried out research since the 1950s and has implemented education programmes for students.

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                                                                                   Last update: January 2015

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